Toe Tags

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Welcome to Mysteries to Die For’s Toe Tags.

Toe Tags are first chapter readings of new releases, often with our own review of the complete work. These chapter reads are combined with Jack’s original music to give you a real taste of the book. To try to remove my personal biases from the review, I started using the approach of comparing the work to an ideal. Yes, that in itself has an element of subjectivity. Follow this link to learn more about my process: Elements of a Perfect Story according to TG Wolff.

Support the authors by reading the books that you connect with and leaving reviews on the major review sites, like Amazon, Good Reads, and Bookbub. It really does matter.

Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver

Chaos at Carnegie Hall is a cozy, historical mystery. It is the first in the Fiona Figg / Kitty Lane mystery series, picking up the character of Fiona Figg from a separate cozy series by Kelly Oliver. It’s 1917 and Temporary British Intelligence officer Fiona Figg is sent from London to New York in pursuit of Frederick Fredericks, a smooth talking South African who is determined to undermine the British war effort. When Fredericks is arrested for murder, one crime Fiona is certain he didn’t commit, she finds her only solution is to burn the candle from both ends.

Bottom line: Chaos at Carnegie Hall is for you if you like the quirks of cozy, the nostalgia of WWI era settings, and the charm of British mysteries.

Duplicity by Shawn Wilson

Duplicity is a mystery, the kind I call a “follow along.” Brick Kavanagh is officially retired from the Washington DC police Homicide Squad. Unofficially, he’s got a few irons in the fire. The most promising is an airline stewardess named Nora that just might be worth relocating to Chicago. A potential paying gig, Brick is invited to mentor law students through a cold case in their own back yard. Then there is the thing that happens to his partner’s wife. For that, everything else can wait.

Bottom line: Duplicity is for you if you like appealing characters getting in the weeds of missing persons and cold case mysteries.

The Accidental Spy by David Gardner

The Accidental Spy is a Suspense Thriller with a minor in satire. Harvey Hudson is a big thinker. A professor of Big History, his niche in this world is to understand how things begin and how they end. His lackluster technical writing career began with the end of his collegiate teaching career. Breaking the top commandments for cyber security, he invites industrial espionage into his company’s servers. But, no worries, the CIA is on this…and so are the Russians. And Harvey, he’s the pinball stuck in between, working to make his own way out.

Bottom line: The Accidental Spy is for you if you like thrillers that are more intellectual than physical, where you can cheer for the underdog.

Hero Haters by Ken MacQueen

Hero Haters is a thriller. There’s a little bit of hero in all of us, but for some of us, our hero has risen to the test. Stopping a shooter in a school. Pulling a man out of a burning car. Rescuing a child from a well. In Ken MacQueen’s world , ordinary people putting others’ lives ahead of their own are honored with an award for exceptional heroism with the Sedgewick Sacrifice Medal. Quietly, one by one, the recipients are disappearing, recipients vetted by one man: Jake Ockham. As the storm of hatred and disillusion swirls, Jake is again called to the most sublime act of setting others before himself.

Bottom line:  Hero Haters is for you if you like high tension thrillers driven by twisted logic and determined heroes.

1 Last Betrayal by Valerie J. Brooks

1 Last Betrayal is a thriller. Angeline Porter is picking up where she left off from the 2nd book in the series, Tainted Times 2, putting it all on the line for her half-sister. Bibi has disappeared and based on the last few texts, it wasn’t willingly. Angeline flies from Oregon to Florida to extract her sister from a hornets nest that includes a local detective, an ethically questionable FBI agent, a totally unethical mob queen, and a half-brother who only wants to be her family.

Bottom line: 1 Last Betrayal is for you if you like intricately woven plots that unravel one knot at a time.

The Midnight Call by Jode Millman

The Midnight Call is a legal thriller. Jessica Martin is a corporate attorney whose mentor, Terence Butterfield, is in big trouble – the bloody kind. Jeremy Riley is the past-his-prime defense attorney Jess brings in to defend Terence. Hal Samuels is the Assistant District Attorney pressured to make sure justice is a big, public win. But it’s not that easy – it never is. Past relationships cloud the facts until the web is indeed a tangled one.

Bottom line: The Midnight Call is for you if you like thrillers rooted in a court room with drama driven by personal choices of good people put in bad situations.

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell

This story is made up of two parts. The first part is suspense; the second part is amateur sleuth. This one is hard to summarize without giving too much away.

Suspense: In a university area of Vancouver, a college co-ed Katie Lord disappeared during a run. Flyers are up everywhere and the cops like her fiancé for it. Mallory Riggins isn’t thinking about Katie when she discovers her driver’s side window shattered. She’s not thinking about anything except how to pay for the repair. Which is too bad. She really should.

Mystery: Amar Saraf is the college professor his students call Dr. Hottie. His is admired by his students and is the apple of his parents’ eye. Indira is his brilliant, younger sister who bucks tradition and her parents at every turn. But even she admits, Amar is the perfect brother. Which is why, when Amar is arrested for the murder of his lover, Indira puts her software engineering skills to work to catch a killer.

Bottom line: The Perfect Brother is for you if you like suspense, dynamic amateur sleuths, and technology as an integral part of detecting.

Sanctuary by C.L. Tolbert

Sanctuary Chapter 1

This is an amateur sleuth mystery with elements of a legal thriller. James Crosby, as you heard, is dead. The finger of guilt is pointed at a 19-year-old transient who was a member of the church Crosby led. Arrested, the young woman, Stacey Roberts, calls the one person she knows in New Orleans who can help her, law professor Emma Thornton. The quest for Reasonable Doubt takes Emma into the back rooms of a cult, a head shop in the French Quarter, and under the overpass.

Bottom line: SANCTUARY is for you if you like sophisticated amateur sleuths

In Danger of Judgment by David Rabin

In Danger of Judgment

This is thriller. Set in 1987, the thug life in Chicago kept Detectives William “Bernie” Bernardelli and Marcelle DeSantis up to their elbows in blood and guts. That life was about to get disrupted. The heroin market, cornered by two rival Mexican cartels, is being violently squeezed by the newest game in town, the Asian powered Quon. And what makes Quon powerful is an American-born mercenary turned enforcer named Robert Thornton, aka The Professor.

Bottom line: IN DANGER OF JUDGEMENT is for you if you like domestic intrigue, military operations, and stories where the definition of justice is fluid.

Dead in the Alley by Sharon Michalove

Dead in the Alley Chapter 1

This is a second-time around, romantic suspense story. Bay Bishop has moved back home to small-town Michigan with her husband Derrick to start an upscale restaurant. It is a success in so many ways. But then Derrick is killed in a hit-and-run right outside the restaurant’s back door. The investigation takes an abrupt turn when a connection to drug trafficking is found. Enter Greg Musgrove, narcotics detective and the high school boyfriend who ghosted on her nearly 20 years ago.

Bottom line: Dead in an Alley is for you if you like second chance, redemption romances, culinary morsels, and rich storylines that immerse you in the lives of the main characters.

See You Next Tuesday by Ken Harris

See You Next Tuesday Chapter 1

This is a Private Investigator and grift story. The dynamic team of Steve Rochfish and Jawnie McGee tackle their first case as full partners. A line from later in the book gives the perfect synopsis. It’s a simple cheating husband case turned into a search and rescue, cult exfiltration and a wild ride that comes back to two old guys getting ripped off.

Bottom line: See You Next Tuesday is for you if you like PI’s who like to mix it up with the bad guys and refuse to quit—even after the cops tell them too. Like four times.

Wolf Bog by Leslie Wheeler

Wolf Bog Chapter 1

This book is an amateur sleuth story where Katheryn Stinson, a curator of prints and photographs for a small library, is drawn into the mystery of the surfacing body of a local man who went missing forty years prior.

Bottom line: Architect of Courage is for you if you are into thrillers, faster paced stories, and international flavors.

Architect of Courage by Victoria Weisfeld

Architect of Courage Chapter 1

In the book, the genre was listed as murder mystery. If you pick up this book expecting a murder mystery, you will be disappointed. This book is not a whodunnit, where the amateur sleuth Archer Landis is solving the mystery of his lover’s murder. This book is a thriller, where the unwilling hero, Archer Landis, is being accosted personally and professionally, forcing him to chase the rabbit down its hole.

Bottom line: Architect of Courage is for you if you are into thrillers, faster paced stories, and international flavors.